In 2019, the Tigers were the worst team in baseball. And judging by wins, they were one of the worst teams ever to play baseball. Their batting was the worst in the league, and their pitching was just horrendous. But were they really that bad?
The average ERA in 2019 was 4.49. The Tigers had a 5.24 ERA against them. That’s not very good. But because ERA can’t adjust to park factors, we have to look at ERA+. If you don’t know what that is, it basically averages ERA out and makes 100 league average. It also adjusts to things like park factors. According to that, they Tigers had a team 92 ERA+. While that’s not good, it’s not the worst in the league. The Tiger’s team ERA was 3rd worst in the league, while their ERA+ was 8th worst in the league.
We also have to take into account WHIP and FIP. If you don’t know what those are, check out this link. The Tigers were 9th worst in the league when it comes to FIP, and 4th worst in the league when it comes to WHIP. They also were tied for 3rd worst in the league for HR/9, and their H/9 was 2nd worst in the league. The Tigers didn’t have good pitchers. When a team like the Rockies doesn’t have good pitchers, they make up for it in their hitting. The Tigers however, did not.
The league average for scoring runs in a game is 4.83 R/G. The Tigers only scored 3.61 R/G, putting them dead last in the MLB. They were second worst in HR, BB, and SLG. They also had the worst OBP in the league, the fewest RBIs, the second worst OPS, and the worst OPS+. All around, the Tigers were terrible hitters. They did have one good hitter by the name of Nicholas Castellanos.
He wasn’t having his best season in 2019 with the Tigers, as he slashed .273/.328/.462 with 11 HR and 37 2B in 403 AB. He was an above average hitter with an OPS+ of 105, and he was still the star of the team. At the trade deadline, he was traded to the Cubs for Alex Lange and Paul Richan. In other words, the Tigers got nothing while the Cubs got Castellanos who tore up the NL.
Besides Castellanos, the Tigers did not have any above average hitters! Not one single person on the team that played with the Tigers had an OPS+ of above 100. Their team leader in HR was Brandon Dixon, who had 15 HR. Even Miguel Cabrera slashed .282/.346/.398, which means that he was 4% below average! The Tigers did have one player with an OPS+ of 100. That player was Victor Reyes, who slashed .304/.336/.431 in 276 AB. The player with the most WAR on the Tigers who plays a position was Niko Goodrum. He had 1.5 WAR. That’s horrible.
When it comes to pitching, the Tigers had all mediocre players. Their starting rotation was Boyd-Turnbull-Norris-Zimmerman. Matthew Boyd was 9-12 with a 4.56 ERA. He was an okay pitcher. Spencer Turnbull led the league in losses with 17, Daniel Norris went 3-13, and Jordan Zimmerman went 1-13 with a 6.91 ERA. Their only star on the team was Shane Greene, who was traded away midseason. The rest of the bullpen was subpar.
The Tigers were obviously horrible, as illustrated by their stats and their 47-114 record. Their Pythagorean record (Uses runs scored and runs allowed) gives them a 49-112 record. They didn’t get unlucky, they were just methodically horrible.
The Tigers were a truly horrible team in 2019.